Director: Christopher Nolan
Writers: Christopher Nolan
Music: Hans Zimmer
Principal cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Cillian Murphy, Marion Cotillard, Tom Hardy and Ken Watanabe.
Release date: 16th July 2010 (on general release).
Don Cobb (DiCaprio) specialises in Extraction – tapping into the subconscious of individuals whilst creating dream worlds and images to steal information from their victims.
When Cobb is approached by a shadowy figure (Watanabe) representing a business wishing to target a globally dominating corporation, he is presented with the perfect challenge – Inception (not to steal information from an individual but to plant the seeds of an idea into the mind of the heir to the rival business).
Cobb’s motivation is further fuelled by the fact that Inception’s success may reunite him with his estranged children in the US, where Cobb is wanted by authorities in relation to the death of his wife (Cotillard).
A sci-fi heist movie revolving around dreamscapes, subconscious images and realised on the scale of a Bond movie whilst embracing complex ideas – Inception is Christopher Nolan’s biggest gamble to date.
The idea of delving into an alternate reality is not new in cinema and has been covered numerous times including The Matrix (1999) and Existenz (2000).
But it is the combination of this, a heist movie and one man’s journey of redemption communicated on a grand scale with no artistic compromise which makes Inception unique and why I believe this film is a landmark blockbuster.
Indeed, even before we begin the heist we are treated to a travelogue whirlwind of action as Cobb is targeted by corporate heavies and literally travels the world recruiting his team. The danger is near, real and never feels staged.
However, it is in the architecture of the dreams that the film truly unfolds, here time is played out and we are treated to vast vistas, metropolises and surreal images combining influences from 20th century art (Escher and Magritte) on a breathtaking scale. Importantly, the action and scenery are only here to serve the plot, its dangers and character development.
Dicaprio is maturing as an actor and is indeed benefiting from the talented directors he is working with. His portrayal of Cobb (addicted to his dream worlds, guilt ridden whilst trying to find a way back to his children and his dead wife) is strong and acts as a pivot for the cast to revolve around.
Indeed, Nolan assembles a top notch cast to support Dicaprio in his caper. Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s straight laced right hand man is perfectly pitched alongside Tom Hardy’s psychotherapist, whilst Ellen Page is young and forceful enough to portray the fresh faced future genius drawn into the world of subconscious espionage.
The combination works wonderfully with an emerging dependency between the characters as they continue to delve into the furthest levels of the dream worlds and their inherent dangers (with moments of light relief provided by Hardy’s quaint essential British shrink).
Finally, Han Zimmer again provides a powerful platform for the drama to unfold with a score reminiscent of Batman Begins (2005) and The Dark Knight (2008) – dark, pulsating and brooding it slowly draws you in, whilst finally becoming incredibly emotive as the film reaches it final resolution.
Inception is a thing of rare beauty – out there by itself as an intellectual, fast paced and creative blockbuster, which rightfully assumes that audiences can embrace complex ideas in a big film. Words such as masterpiece are not to be banded around lightly – but Nolan may finally have crafted his.